Liverpool staved off a Roma comeback in the second leg semifinal of the Champions League Wednesday night, going own 4-2 at the Stadio Olimpico but progressing to the final on a 7-6 on aggregate win.
The five-time European champions will face holders Real Madrid in the May 26 final, in Kiev, their first final appearance since losing to Milan in Athens in 2007.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds were far from their devastating attacking best as they lost their first match in this season’s competition despite cruising in the first half having twice taken the lead.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was their most potent attacking threat and put them ahead after nine minutes, burying a through ball from Roberto Firmino, but a bizarre own goal by James Milner levelled for Roma.
Dejan Lovren clearance ricocheted off the Englishman’s face and past Lorius Karius in Liverpool goal.
The home fans were now in full voice, but their renewed spirits lasted only another 10 minutes before Liverpool retook the lead through a Georgino Wijnaldum header.
Roma levelled for the second time seven minutes after the restart as substitute Stephan El Shaarawy’s shot was pushed into the path of Edin Dzeko by Karius and the Bosnian rifled his finish past the German keeper.
It was then back against the rope for Liverpool as Roma chances came and went before Nainggolan took aim from the edge of the area and rifled a shot in off the post.
The Belgian midfielder scored from the spot after substitute Ragnar Klavan was adjudged to have handled, but Liverpool held on for an eighth final appearance.